The PIG to the Constitution (Secession)

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    Dr. Gutzman,

    I am greatly enjoying your edition in the PIG series. Today I was reading about the “ratification” of the 14th amendment and secession and all that good stuff.

    I did notice that on Pg. 122 you speak of the states that explicitly reserved the right to secede from the Union with their ratification. You list the states as Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island. Then on Pg. 132, you describe the same thing but list the states with that provision as Virginia, Maryland, and Rhode Island.

    I was wondering if…

    1) You could clear up the confusion with the different lists and

    2) Provide a citation of the the explicit statements of these states saying they could secede one day from the Union if they wanted. [I’m not criticizing the lack of citation, I’m just genuinely curious. I know the books are written on a popular level and not meant to have every sentence cited]

    *Also note, Dr. Woods explains the same thing in PIG to American History and lists the states as Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island, but does not provide any citation.

    I find the book to be really interesting and enlightening. It is interesting because so many “libertarian” constitutional lawyers nowadays are very pro 14th amendment and central authority in the name of using it to free local citizens.


    The list should be VA, NY, and RI. I don’t know how MD came to be in that second list, and Regnery told me years ago that they’d correct that problem; I can’t account for their not having done so.

    You can find the statements from Virginia’s and New York’s ratifying conventions in the relevant volumes of THE DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION: volume X for Virginia’s, volume XXIII for New York’s. As to Rhode Island, I think I took the claim from Graham’s A CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY OF SECESSION, but I don’t have my copy at hand.


    Thanks for the response Dr. Gutzman!

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